Still very much developing its tourism sector, Macau is a fascinating, multi-layered city. Macau's one-time rulers, the Portuguese, have left much of their culture behind. In its heart, an odd-yet-neat mix of Portuguese and Chinese culture pervades, with egg tart stands neighbouring Macanese noodle restaurants, and signs bearing both country's languages.
Macau shares Hong Kong's "Special Administrative Status" with China, but that's one of the few similarities you'll find between the two city/countries. Just a short boat ride away from Hong Kong, travellers will find Macau to have much more budget-friendly prices, but for a reason -- Macau has very little of the modern infrastructure that makes Hong Kong so attractive. But that's part of its charm.
Cobblestone streets, white plastered buildings, gardens, green space, and clean air are appreciated by travellers who make the trip to Macau. Its historic centre, rich in culture with ruins, temples, and fortresses, has been declared a UNESCO World Heritage site. And the food -- oh the food. You simply cannot go to Macau without trying its famous dim sum, a sort of bun brunch buffet. If Chinese food isn't your thing, the Portuguese restaurants provide the ultimate Macau dining experience, complete with Portuguese wine at bargain prices.
This isn't to say that Macau is all old world charm -- no way. The gambling industry has fuelled much of Macau's recent developments, with people coming from all over Asia and indeed, the world, to experience Macau's top-tier casinos. One of Macau's most famous casino-resorts, the Venetian, is a must-see, even if you can't afford a night there or even chips for the slot machine. Vast, luxurious shopping centres provide those who've been lucky at the casino a place to go wild with their winnings.
Macau is a destination that combines many different cultures into one place, from Chinese, to Portuguese, to the casino elite, and does so in a way that you must see to fully comprehend.